When my children were little we would always attend Easter Mass at the Cathedral , which is a great place to be on any given Sunday but at Easter you get all the smells and bells. Since the majority of my children have grown and started families of their own this tradition has faded.
This year my bride suggested we start going again. I was not sure if it was for our littlest one or she was being nostalgic but it did not matter. I missed the Cathedral too.
Once you enter the Cathedral, even after a long absence, it is as if you were never away. There is a joyous wonder in its sameness. Its sameness comes from the dynamic position of always being where the past and the potential of the future meet in the envelope of the present.
As you walk in and someone unseen would be wailing on the large pipe organ and when the horn section enters in you could feel your sternum vibrate. The choir is angelic. The building is beautiful in fulfilling the prophesy, “If These Were Silent, the Stones Would Cry Out”, all this before the procession had begun.
As the procession past us I began to take a closer notice of the throng of the faithful before me. I felt something was different then from what I remember and honestly I missed the opening prayers trying to figure it out. Before the first reading it dawned on me – there were no ladies in hats. Those marvelously large pastel colored hats were gone - not one Easter hat. In the past as you focused on the alter it was through a sea of big brimmed soft flowing hats acting as flowers turning toward the morning sun. Now everywhere not only were there no hats there were very few ties, little finery, only a few children in new outfits. Our pew was the exception where as in the past I would sometimes feel we looked a little ragged.
I am not one to wear a tie much and I keep my sport coat in a bag until Christmas and Easter my wife never wore a hat but many did. But EASTER that was the time when dads wore suits, mom’s bought you new outfits and your one pair of new shoes for the year were bought at Easter. It all added another layer to the day we were all, in a way, “resurrected” from winter to the new life of spring.
We wore our best on the best day. Now, how is anyone to know that this day is above all other days, when all they see are jeans and polos?